Utah Motorcycle Accidents
By the very nature of their design, a motorcycle does not give as much protection to a driver as a car would. Motorcyclists are then not protected the same way individuals in a car are. Motorcycle drivers have minimal control over dangers present on the roads, are less visible to other drivers and thus, are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash. People on motorcycles are more vulnerable to severe injuries if an accident does occur. Stats show motorcycles represent roughly 3% of all registered vehicles on the road in the U.S. yet account for almost 14% of highway deaths each year. The NHTSA states nearly 80% of motorcycle crashes result in either injury or death compared to about 20% for auto accidents.
People often assume if a motorcycle accident occurred, the motorcyclist is at fault due to reckless driving, speeding or weaving in and out of traffic. Although this can be the case, more often times accidents involving motorcyclists are cause by unsafe road conditions or negligent drivers on the road. For this and other reasons, attorney George Tait, created Utah Bike Law in 2004. George is a motorcycle rider himself and has seen the safety issues and blame game first hand. He recognized the need for a law firm dedicated to helping injured motorcycle riders in the local community.
Why Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles are thrilling vehicles. Many riders look forward to long summer months on their motorcycles and experiencing the excitement and freedom often associated with them. However, those attributes that create the mystique of motorcycles also make them dangerous. Drivers do not always look out for motorcycles and road hazards affect motorcycles more seriously than cars. The result is injury to motorcycle riders.
The factors in motorcycle accidents are different from those collisions involving other types of vehicles. That is why you are better off hiring an attorney with experience in motorcycle accidents when you are injured through no fault of your own. Here is what makes motorcycle accidents different and why you should hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycle Accidents are Unique
This is due to the unique risks that motorcycles face. Their properties naturally leave them more vulnerable on the road and when there is an accident, it is almost always serious. Challenges frequently experienced by motorcyclists include:
- Visibility. Being smaller, drivers have to watch out for motorcycles better. Motorcyclists get caught in blind spots, obscured by other cars and trucks, and concealed by weather conditions, including fog and heavy rain. This especially becomes a disadvantage at intersections where drivers may not always wait their turn to proceed.
- Road Hazards.Oil slicks, standing water and potholes are mere annoyances to a motorist but for a motorcyclist, they can be a disaster. Avoidance maneuvers can also propel the motorcycle into the path of other vehicles which risks a crash.
- The “Wobble” Effect. In product liability cases involving motorcycles, the “wobble” is discussed frequently. This is when the front end becomes unstable and shakes or “wobbles.” When this occurs, the motorcyclist can lose control.
- Riding Skills. Inexperienced motorcyclists can frequently put themselves in danger. That is why education courses are highly recommended if you are a new rider.
When a motorcycle is hit by a car, the results are more much more serious than when two cars collide. That often leads to an intense investigation of negligence theories and a long recovery from serious injuries.
Negligence and Motorcycles
Motorcyclists often face injuries due to the negligence of another motorist. Shortcomings in driving that leads to these accidents often arise from:
- Following a motorcycle too closely;
- Failure to keep proper lookout;
- Failure to yield right-of-way to a motorcycle (often due to a failure to keep a lookout);
- Passing too closely or “sharing” the lane;
- Deliberate intimidation of a motorcyclist; and
- Product defects, such as in “wobble” cases.
In most motorcycle accident cases, another driver is held liable. Drivers do not always check their blind spots or make the extra effort to watch for motorcycles. In product liability cases, injured victims can pursue manufacturers and even repair facilities for damages.
If road conditions were a contributing element in an accident, it is also possible to hold a municipality liable. If it can be shown that the government entity knew or should have known about the dangerous road conditions and still never repaired them, a claim could be brought on that theory too.
Compiling evidence for a motorcycle case is similar to car accidents but you have to know the hazards. Reviewing police reports and locating witnesses helps build an accident case. If the motorcyclist suffered a head injury or other condition that affects memory, attorneys can also bring in an accident reconstruction expert.
Hire An Attorney Who Understands
For these cases, you need a motorcycle accident attorney more than a general personal injury practitioner. Motorcycles handle differently and it often takes an attorney who actually rides motorcycles to understand how these accidents occur. An attorney who does not ride may not always understand the need to avoid overcorrection or the fact that motorcycles do not stop as quickly as cars without putting their operators in danger.
The seriousness of your injuries also demands legal assistance. Accidents, whether they happen in a car or motorcycle, will change your life at least in the short term. You will need time for recovery and funds are often tight if you cannot go to work. The last thing you need to worry about while dealing with your injuries is communicating with insurance companies and hoping your medical bills are covered. Your attorney can handle those tasks while you focus on recovery.
Also, there is the impression that when there is a car-motorcycle accident, it is the motorcyclist who is at fault. Society often imagines motorcycle enthusiasts as reckless people who weave in and out of traffic and basically behave as a menace on the road. When you have an attorney with experience in motorcycle accidents, you will have a strong advocate who can show this is not the case with you.
That is where George Tait can help you. A motorcyclist for over 30 years, George can help you secure the compensation you are entitled to after being injured in a motorcycle accident. Please head over to Utah Bike Law for a more thorough and comprehensive breakdown of motorcycle accidents and how George can assist you. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Utah motorcycle accident, protect your rights by contacting George for a free, no obligation consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call 801-487-6454.